Sunday, December 10, 2017

Why G.I. Joe Should Include G.I. Jane

I was reading a column that was focused on why everyone should be grateful for our troops and their service. As a former sailor in our U.S. Navy, I have a bit of difficulty understanding why anyone would not be grateful.

The column focused on the fact that we in the United States have an all-volunteer military. It’s been many a year since we’ve had a draft, and because of the volunteers, we have a strong defense.

I linked to the article at the beginning of this post, and you will notice that the site is of a decidedly libertarian nature. One aspect of libertarianism is a non-interventionist stance when it comes to how we use our military to function in the world. In other words, no nation building. You know, no going into a foreign country to liberate them and then “take up residence”. After all, we are not supposed to follow in the footsteps of our former mother-country.

The article points out the argument that if we had fewer individuals volunteer, we would have a smaller military, and therefore less incentive for such interventionist undertakings. They show the folly of the argument by pointing out that, even though we no longer have a draft, we do have a Selective Service.

What’s the Selective Service? According to the Selective Service System website:

“Virtually all male U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and male immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, residing in the United States, who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service.”

Did you notice what was decidedly missing from the above? I’ll give you a hint: Who does NOT have to register?

Get it now?

We hear a lot about equality and anti-discrimination. And I’m all for it. In My Humble But Accurate Opinion, the more equality and anti-discrimination, the less hate and racism we’d have.

There has been a lot of debates over whether or not women should serve in combat roles.

I think that not only should women be able to serve in combat, but they should be required to sign up for the Selective Service as well.

C’mon! Is equality just lip service? Is it only of value when it serves our narrative? I’m waiting for the million-women march over changing the Selective Service System to force women to sign up as well.

I’m rather fond of the (I-know-it’s-terrible-but-what-the-hell) movie “Starship Troopers”. One thing you noticed: BOTH men and women were in the service. As the movie made it clear: “The only good bug, is a dead bug,” and both men and women wanted to do their part. Why shouldn’t that be any different now?

So, in the spirit of equality, let’s change the Selective Service System to make both men AND women have to sign up.

After all, we currently don’t have a draft . . .

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, December 3, 2017

My Least-Favorite Things

Remember when Sean Penn
Gave Madonna some bruises
And there’s John Travolta
Who liked men on ship cruises
Roman Polanski who raped
And left country on wings
These are a few of the creepier things

There is Bill Cosby
Who raped 13 women
Oliver Stone preferred
A perverted audition
Britney Spears flashed her guard
And showed him her blings
These are a few of the creepier things

Then Harvey Weinstein
Liked fertilizing flowers
Bill Clinton was accused
Of raping Jennifer . . . Flowers
Kevin Spacey said that
Pedophilia’s his thing
These are a few of the creepier things

When each new claim
Hits the media
And I start feeling blue
I just look at Twitter and then understand
All the cries of hashtag, “Me too!”

Okay, that was a very rough parody of Julie Andrew's “My Favorite Things”, but I think you get the picture.

It seems like more and more we hear of people behaving badly towards others. Usually when you have a “themed” media onslaught, I wonder what is the real, more terrible story being ignored. You know, what is this a distraction for? Sort of like, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” or more appropriately, “Pay no attention to the bill being passed by Congress.”

Then I wonder what if this IS the real, more terrible story.

And I want to cry.

“Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.”

Sigh . . .

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Reminds Me of the McCarthy Era

Recently we received a card in the mail from something called the OffenderWatch Initiative. It was a community notice of a sex offender in our area. This is the first such mailing we have received since we moved into the area over ten years ago. As a matter of fact, it is the first such mailing I’ve EVER received.

Either this is the first time a sex offender has moved into an area near me, OR, with all of the current accusations of sexual misconduct being the hot news item of the day, someone felt it necessary to notify us of this PARTICULAR sex offender.


The card lists some of the following details:

The person’s registration number
Name
Date of birth and age
Sex - Male
Race - White (Which is hysterical to me, since “white” is not a race. I remember a comedian once saying there was no such thing as a white person. He then held up a sheet of paper next to his face and said, “If a person is this color, they’re dead.” We are all the same color - just different shades based on the amount of pigment.)
Height, weight, hair and eye color
The person’s address: (my neighborhood)
Aliases and identifying scars and/or tattoos
The offense (date committed, date convicted, counts, description, and crime details): 2015, one count gross sexual imposition (sexually motivated), one count kidnapping with sexual motivation, Tier III sex offender
And comments: Victim was an adult female

Not only does the mailer give me the person’s information, but it has safety tips listed to protect our children. Because, if the straight, white, male will commit a sexual offense against “an adult female”, OBVIOUSLY he will go after ALL children. You know, straight, white, males will commit pedophilia if they are attracted to someone of the opposite sex.

Unlike Kevin Spacey, a gay, white, male who made it known that as a homosexual, he OBVIOUSLY would go after (and DID go after) male children. (He was immediately condemned by the gay community for enforcing the stereotype that they have fought against for so long.)

The offenses and convictions took place in 2015. And yet, TWO YEARS LATER I’m receiving a notice that this person moved into my neighborhood.

Two years later.

Why?

I know, I should be concerned when a convicted sex offender has moved into my neighborhood. I am. But what really bothers me is that a CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER WAS ABLE TO MOVE INTO MY NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE FIRST PLACE, and some organization felt it necessary to notify me.

IF the person was convicted, why is he out on the streets - able to move into my neighborhood? If he is considered still dangerous, WHY IS HE OUT ON THE STREETS?!? What kind of judicial system do we have here?

If the prisons are so overcrowded that we have to let people out - the very people who should NOT be in with the masses - why not let out those individuals caught with marijuana or some other “illegal drug”.

Apparently, our judicial system finds that drug possession is MORE harmful to society than a convicted sex offender.

And IF the person has been deemed “normal” enough to return to society, WHY the F***ING notification?!? Is that just to scare the public?

We don’t need mailers telling us that there are sex offenders living in our neighborhoods. The media has made it clear that pretty much ALL males (especially straight white ones) are sex offenders.

Maybe we need mailers to tell us who the safe people are.

Hey OffenderWatch Initiative. Get right on that, will you?

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Have We All Become Judge Dredd?

When it comes to Star Trek vs. Star Wars . . . wars, I have to admit I’m pretty much on the side of Star Trek. Not that I dislike Star Wars, it’s just that I never got into that universe (or, more appropriately, that “galaxy far far away”). I don’t think I’ve ever watched a Star Wars movie more than once. I may have, but don’t recall. Now, Star Trek, on the other hand . . .


I think my love for Star Trek is partly due to my love of all things “time” related. I also enjoy the stories of us Earthlings and where the future may take us.


My wife and I have worked our ways through The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, and Deep Space Nine. We are in the first season of Voyager currently. Being that we have several seasons to go with that series, and the entire Enterprise series as well, it may be a while before we get to the newest (current) incarnation: Discovery.


However, in the “I Want That Exact Same Suit But In A Completely Different Style” category, there is the newest creation from the mind of Seth MacFarlane: The Orville.


Oh. My. God. I LOVE The Orville. It is so much like Star Trek while at the same time being nothing like Star Trek. Each of the nine episodes (as of this writing) have been a fantastic ride - and very different in style from each other. I’m excited to say that the series has been green-lit for a second season.


The episodes have also been timely in the issues they have tackled. One such episode, “Majority Rule” (S01 E07) is almost a distress call to our current society.


As the episode is described, “Ed sends a team to find missing anthropologists on a planet similar to 21st century Earth; the mission goes awry when they realize the planet uses a public voting system to determine punishment.”


Today we are inundated in social media. Facebook and Twitter have been daily topics in the news. Was there collusion in the 2016 election by Russia via the purchase and display of political ads in Facebook? President Trump continually “kicks the hornet’s nest” with his tweets. And now, celebrities of all ilks are being “outed” as sex offenders and child molesters - many judged guilty in the “court” of social media as if it were fact.


Recently, George Takei had spoken out against Kevin Spacey over Spacey’s recent child molestation charges, announcing himself as gay, and his reinforcement of the stereotype that conflate said homosexuality with pedophilia.


What happened next? George Takei was accused of sexually assaulting a model back in 1981.


I saw George Takei’s rebuttal/apology/explanation in Twitter. The comment thread that followed was people believing it to be true because the victim is always the truthful one, people believing it to be false because false accusations are common, and people wanting to believe George Takei because he is George Takei.


Which brings me back to The Orville episode.


Have we become a society that allows social media to be the voice of reason, and ultimately judge, jury, and prosecution? Does anyone else see the danger here?

From "The Orville" - "Majority Rule"

Taylor Swift went through hell online because she didn’t say something against the Nazi march QUICK ENOUGH.  


People agree with things (“like” things), or disagree with things, just so their social circles will accept them. There is dopamine hits for liking and hating things online.


It has gotten to the point that if a man had looked at a woman the wrong way that woman will cry out on social media that she was molested. And more so, there are women who are saying #MeToo so they don’t “suffer” the same consequences as Taylor Swift.


The danger is that when all forms of harassment are classified as the most heinous, the most heinous will no longer be the most heinous. They will lose their impact (and therefore the attention such vile acts should receive.)


I’m going to confess something: I’m a white male. I was born this way. It was not a choice. And therefore, I can be accused of a life of “white privilege”. And being male, I am automatically guilty of sexual harassment if I’ve ever given a woman a compliment. Am I perfect? God no. Have I ever said or done something that might be deemed inappropriate? Absolutely. As Jesus made it so clear, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.”


You won’t find a stone in MY hand.


But on social media, there are many with both hands cocked and ready to throw a heater.


Does that sound extreme? It should. And if it doesn’t?


Well, I guess that is something to think about.


© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, November 5, 2017

To Know the Known

To Know the Known



Who is this God that I follow?
Who am I to follow Him?
To inspire song.
To comfort in sorrow.
To cradle the face of a child.
To wipe the tears from eyes
strained towards heaven.
In somber solitude I seek to abandon,
to achieve what I am unable to grasp.
To let go of the here,
to obtain the Now.
I am awed in Your presence.
Totally at peace in my frustration
for that of which eludes me.
When I think I’ve come to an understanding,
You turn and I am struck dumb.
I glimpse at Your glory and collapse.
Unable to behold Your beauty.
Your splendor.
Sinful.
Arrogant.
I claim to hold a stallion by the reins;
to find I hold an ass.
The reins in my hand
steer the bit in my own mouth.
I long to know the Known.
To hold a piece of eternity.
Fallen man I am.
I discard the pride of reason
to become the fool of God.
To let go of achievement
for the brokenness of the humble.
Who is this God that I follow?
And who am I to follow Him?
 
J.P. Wiegand
© Emittravel 1999


It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything about my spiritual journey. Many of you who have been reading my blog know that I was a very involved member of a church for YEARS. I took a sabbatical from October 2014 until about May of 2015. You’ll find much of my experience leading up to and during expressed here.

I returned to that church after the end of my sabbatical until the end of September. Since then I’ve been “churchless”. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to join with friends at their church to play in their worship team since then, but at this point I’ve no “desire” to become a regular church goer. What does the future hold? I’m not sure. This is still a journey, and I’m still a traveler on it.

The above poem was initially published to www.renderosity.com in January of 2007. The comment below accompanied it. I think it is still relevant:

Religion: from the word "religare" meaning "to tie back" or "strangle". The balancing act of faith in God, and mindless obedience to a religion. For me this is a lifelong struggle; the desire to know God, versus the arrogance of my own humanity. Do you seek to love someone JUST for what they can do for you? That's manipulation. If it doesn't work that way on Earth, why would we think it would work in the heavenlies? Just a thought. -j.p.

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Circle(s) of Life

After reflecting on my last blog, I found myself thinking about those I’ve known over the years who I seem to have “lost touch” with. You know what I mean. You have people like that in (or, more appropriately, “out of”) your life.

With time seeming to pass faster and faster as we get older, many people you’ve once had relationships with seem to have slipped away with the sand of the hourglass. But that’s normal.

Over the years we have grown into lives. And so have those people. Unfortunately, many times the lives grown are in different gardens. Work. Church. Social groups. In many different ways, we have developed different circles. Like a Venn diagram, it is where those different circles overlap that we meet. And, like a Venn diagram, the portions where meeting does not take place is greater.

And that is where we find ourselves with distant friends.

My suggestion then, is to focus on those closest to you now; where the overlaps are the greatest.

Of those in my life, the one that is closest to me brings me the greatest joy: my wife.

There is no one I’d rather travel the hourglass sands with than Lisa.

I’m going to let you into one of those special things about her that thrill me. As a matter of fact, it is this incident that was the impetus for this particular post.

We went to a Halloween party over a friend’s house last night. It’s an annual event that has taken place over the last 26 years. It’s always a lot of fun. One of the folks brings a karaoke system and sets up in the basement. Over the course of the evening people go down to join in. No one uses a microphone. People just get up in the group and sing along.

Towards the end of the evening, Lisa and I headed down to the basement. Understand: my wife does not sing publicly. That’s not her thing. I have no problem with doing that. I’m no singer. It’s just that it takes an awful lot for me to embarrass myself.

At one point I got to watch Lisa sitting on the couch singing along with one of the songs. And there was nothing better to me than to watch her smiling face as she just let it all hang out. It’s one of those rare moments that sometimes happens at home with the stereo on that I get to soak in - and watch the sands stand still.

And that’s what I mean. It’s those moments of pure joy that make you stop and actively acknowledge the presence of someone in the center of your circle.

So, take a moment to think about those closest to you. Reach out to them before the circles stop intersecting.

Don’t let living get in the way of living.

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Stuff My Brain Says #82

“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." - tagline of the soap opera "Days of Our Lives"


Unlike an hourglass, however, it seems that as we get older the sand passes through faster and faster. The immortality of youth is quickly replaced by the mortality of the aged, and the eerie robed fella with the scythe seems to get closer and closer to our door.


One thing that I noticed is that when you are young, old age is approximately 15 years from wherever you are at. When you are 10, 25 is old! When you reach 20, 35 is old. And so on and so on.


Until the point where you pass the 50th orbit around the sun. At that point it seems to reverse. Whereas 65 is no longer old, 35 is now the new child. And the farther along we get from 50, so does those who follow from a 15 year distance. When you hit 60, a person passing at 75 seems way too young. And the 45 year old is barely wet behind the ears.


So, how about you? Do you have more sand at the top or the bottom of your hourglass? Are there any changes in your life you need to make in order to make the most out of that which remains?





Remember: you have until the sands run out.


© Emittravel 2017